A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day

By Paul Beale; Eric Partridge | Go to book overview

T

T.A.B.U.; N.A.B.U.; S.A.B.U.; also T.A.R.F.U. and T.C.C.F.U.

Of these, the first four soon came to be written, and pronounced, 'solid'-that is, Tabu, Nabu, Sabu, Tarfu, with the u pronounced oo.

Respectively, a typical army balls-up: a non-adjustable balls-up; a self adjustable balls-up, where balls-up=confusion, 'mess': army, mostly officers', esp. in North Africa: 1940-5. TARFU is that state of confusion in which 'things are really fucked-up (politely, fouled-up)'; TCCFU is a 'typical Coastal Command fuck-up' and was employed in the RAF, esp. in Coastal Command itself, 1941-4.

Cf snafu.


T.G.

-representing 'Thank God!'-is applied to cutlery and crockery left unused at table and therefore not needing to be washed up. What's more, the articles themselves become T.G.s. Domestic: since c. 1940. (David Short, 1978.) Seemingly prompted by the next. P.B.: cf the Aus. use of sunbeams for the same thing (DSUE).


T.G.I.F.

Thank God it's Friday!': perhaps orig. among teachers in primary and secondary schools, C20, but by c. 1950, at latest, if had been taken over by all Monday-Friday workers. Common also in US (R.C., sometimes in the form T.G.F. (J.W.C.). P.B.: there arose in the Services, c. 1960, a similar expression, P.O.E.T.S., or poets, standing for 'push (or, vulgarly, piss) off early, tomorrow's Saturday', used by all those excusing themselves for skimping the Friday afternoon stint. (With thanks to P.J. Emrys Jones.)

A.B., 1979, adds another: 'My friend Richard French (sadly deceased) used to have a job with our [US] Navy Department. For some reason his week's work ended on Thursdays; so, when he wrote to me, he would abbreviate “Sure happy it's Thursday”-S.H.I.T.!' E.P. commented, 'S.H.I.T. never became a c.p.-but that's how many c.pp. originate.'


T.S.

See: tough shit.


T.T.F.N.

See: ta-ta for now.


T.V.

See: you're getting TV.


ta.

See: say 'ta'!


ta-ta for now!

A c.p. form of 'Good-bye for the present!'-often 'initialled' to T.T.F.N.: esp. during the 1940s, it was instituted and popularized by the radio programme, 'ITMA': see TOMMY HANDLEY CATCH PHRASES. In Frank Worsley's Itma, 1948, we read that Dorothy Summers first appeared in ITMA on 10 Oct. 1940 and rapidly became famous in her role of Mrs Mopp and that, by mid-1943, 'Mrs Mopp's entrances and exits had become standardized. As she was going she bellowed “T.T.F.N.”'

As the years went by, and the series continued in popularity, Tommy started to respond to T.T.F.N. with ever longer sets of initials, e.g. the exchange:

MRS MOPP: T.T.F.N.

HANDLEY: N.C.A.W.W.A.S.B.E.

MRS M.: What's that?

HANDLEY: Never clean a window with a soft boiled egg!


tab.

See: ain't coming.


tablets.

See: keep taking.


tack.

See: go sit; run up a; that, Bill.


tact.

See: that, Bill.


tace is Latin for a candle.

Be quiet or stop talking!: mid C17-mid C19, then only among a diminishing number of scholars. In Thomas Shadwell, The Virtuoso, 1679, we find, at I, i:

LONG[VIL]: A Wit! 'faith, he might as well have call'd thee a Dromedary.

SIR SAM[UEL HEARTY]: Peace, I say; Tace is Latin for a Candle.

It occurs in Swift, Fielding, Grose (1788), Scott; then in dialect. (Apperson.) The pun is double; tace in L.=be silent; a candle is snuffed out or otherwise extinguished. Cf brandy is Latin for a goose.


TAD DORGAN'S CATCH PHRASES

Thomas Aloysius Dorgan ('Tad'), born 1877 in San Francisco, became famous as a satirical cartoonist and, later, sports commentator, first on the San Francisco Bulletin (1892-1902) and then on the New York Journal (1902 onwards). To the New York Times Magazine of 23 April 1978, that brilliant American humorist Sidney Joseph Perelman (b. 1904) who, in 1924, began his career on the old Judge weekly, contributed an entertaining, witty, affectionate memoir on Tad' as a man and as an artist and commentator, with particular attention to his single-term (ordinary slang) and his catch phrase innovations.

It was he who coined the phrases, 'Yes, we have no bananas', '23-skiddoo, ' 'See what the boys in the back room will have, ' 'Officer, call a cop, ' and 'Let him up, he's all cut' [drunk]. Among the other apothegms he invented, still part of our common speech, were such daisies as 'The first hundred years are the hardest, ' 'The only place you'll find sympathy is in the dictionary' and 'Half the world are squirrels and the other half are nuts.' [A pun on squirrel, a hoarder, and on nut, a crazy person, and nuts, crazy.] Tad evolved the catch phrase 'nobody home' to denote incomprehension, witlessness, or downright idiocy in those he was shafting. Daily on the sidelines of his 'Indoor Sports, ' there appeared one or another of his repertory figures uttering some fresh orchestration of the idiom, as, for instance, 'Nobody home but the telephone and that's in the hands of the receiver' or 'Nobody home but the oyster and that's in the stew' or 'Nobody home but the flatiron and that's got a pressing engagement.'

Mr Perelman also refers to the patterns you tell 'em…, as in 'You tell 'em, goldfish, you've been round the globe' and 'You tell 'em, corset, you've been around the girls', and I'm the guy who…, as in 'I'm the guy who put salt in the ocean', and 'I'm the guy who put pep in pepper'.

-289-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to the First Edition ix
  • Introduction to the First Edition x
  • Modifications of the Original Introduction xii
  • Acknowledgments to the First Edition xiv
  • Preface to the Second Edition xvi
  • Acknowledgments to the Second Edition xix
  • Abbreviations xxi
  • A 1
  • B 25
  • C 42
  • D 60
  • E 79
  • F 85
  • G 96
  • H 114
  • I 136
  • J 178
  • K 181
  • L 186
  • M 200
  • N 212
  • O 228
  • P 240
  • Q 251
  • R 253
  • S 261
  • T 289
  • U 323
  • V 326
  • W 328
  • X 360
  • Y 361
  • Z 384
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 389

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.